Thanks for visiting
the World of Amber!
Welcome to the World of Amber
Disseminating and Communicating Information via WWW
Susan Ward Aber
Earth Science Department,
Emporia State University,
Emporia, Kansas USA
Amber has gained fame through the fictional book and movie
"Jurassic Park" and news accounts reporting on life found in amber and
DNA extraction. Topics such as amber, which have specialized scientific
interest, may have limited means of disseminating factual
information to popular audiences. Traditional ways of disseminating
veritable information are via professional meetings, museum exhibits,
journals, and books, which usually attain a regional audience with
both marketing and geographic limitations. These media can be slow
to update. The Internet reaches a global audience and has rapid update possibilities; access is limited only when the necessary hardware and Internet connections are restricted.
Amber's recent popularity can be blended with scientific
facts and research findings disseminated by the Internet with amber
devoted web pages, such as World of Amber (http://www.emporia.edu/earthsci/amber/amber.htm). This amber web document presents topics such as, physical
properties, geologic and geographic amber occurrences, life in amber, recovery,
identification, uses, myths, types, care of amber, museums, and
references. The webpage takes advantage of other material on the Internet
through hyperlinks to external sites; these external links show thoroughout
the document and are assembeled in the WebLink Index. The World of Amber
has been utilized by tens of thousands of people since it was created
in January 1996. The world wide email correspondence has been gratifying, and
lends credence to the educational goal of this page. This amber repackaging
product, which uses the Internet as its dissemiating venue, enhances
utilization and merits study in itself as a viable communication tool
for both scientists and the public.
Abstract taken from: Aber, S.W. 1998. Welcome to the World of Amber. World
Congress on Amber Inclusions, Session Program, p. 135. Vitoria-Gasteiz,
Álava, Basque Country, Spain.
Professional meetings, museum exhibits, journals, books,
and listservs act as avenues for scientists to disseminate
and communicate information, although all have marketing
and geographic limitations. The Internet disseminates
the World of Amber...
You are the 26435th
visitor to this page since January 1998
Monday, the 26th of October, 1998
For more information
contact Susie Ward Aber, firstname.lastname@example.org
Simply based on the number of visits to the page, less than 2% of
the visitors are making e-mail contact. E-mail correspondence
directly related to the amber web page consists of 72% questions
and 28% comments. The nature of the questions can be organized
based on the topics found in the World of Amber:
36% Uses, Myths, Care, Types of Amber
32% Museums, References, WebLink Index
23% Life, Recovery Methods, Imitations/Identification
8% Physical Properties, Geologic/Geographic Occurrences
Examples of E-mail from Physical
Properties, Geologic/Geographic Occurrences...
- What is the largest piece of amber found in the USA
or even all of North America? That question remains to be
answered. This 3.6 kg or 7.9 pound amber-like specimen
was found by a family in North Carolina, Bogue Sound near
Morehead City, after a hurricane in 1989.
(J. S. Chorpenning,
personal communication, 1997-1998). It was believed to
be amber, but has since been tested as
specimen weighing 5.4 kg or 12 pounds was found in August of 1999.
- A professed lover of tall tales, mysteries, and unlikely history,
J. Crews (personal communication, May-September, 1998) was
curious about historical amber finds and trading in Florida. He had
been reading a book about the oldest city in the U.S., St. Augustine,
Florida, that stated the Guales (ancestors of the Lower Creek
Nations of South Georgia) and the Surruques (of the mid-Atlantic
Florida coastal region) traded amber and sassafras with the French.
A Florida state geologist said, although Florida has 28 different
types of sand, with coquina, mar clays, and limestone, he thought
amber was unlikely. J. Crews then speculated the amber could have
washed ashore from shipwrecks (Dominican or Mexican amber headed
to the Old World) or traded from other native populations.
Amy Turner Bushnell, a history professor and author of
The King's Coffer: Proprietors of the Spanish Florida Treasury,
1565-1702, said the spanish word "anbar" could mean either
amber or ambergris and she now believed ambergris was traded, not amber.
J. Crews is continuing his quest and still wonders if amber
was found in Florida or is it just a sappy idea?!?
Examples of E-mail from Life, Recovery Methods,
- Amphibian eggs in Lithuanian amber? (D. Lamb,
personal communication, July, 1998) After being contacted,
I referred the question to Pat Craig, who speculated the objects
(0.33-0.5mm) could be anything from dust bubbles to eggs
(possibly snail or millipede?). They are probably
not amphibian eggs due in part to the size.
Photo date 7/98; © by D. Lamb
Photo date 7/98; © by D. Lamb
Pat Craig (personal communication, August, 1998) stated the Cliff
frog has an egg yoke about 4mm in diameter, while the Cricket frog
is only 1mm; Eleutherodactylus (known in amber) lay eggs under rocks,
while the gecko, Sphaerodactylus (also known in amber) species, laid
eggs under available objects and in bromeliads with an egg size of
5.7 x 7.9mm. The anolis lizard has eggs about 6 to 8mm in diameter.
- D. Jacobson (personal communication, September-December, 1997)
requested references with regard to amber recovery and environmental
degredation. His research resulted in an informative web document:
Trade and the Environment in the Kaliningrad Oblast
Examples of E-mail from Museums, References, WebLink Index
- There is an amber museum in northern Japan at Kuji with local
specimens as well as Baltic amber. (J. Mallonee, personal communication,
August, 1996) The local amber is Late
Cretaceous, opaque, yellow, and contains a number of inclusions.
- Did you know about the amber finds outside of Issaquah, Washington?
(M. Buettemeier, personal communication, June, 1998)
I was told about an abandoned coal mine site where yellow, orange,
and red amber was found about the size of an "unshelled peanut."
The geologist leading the field trip said on occasion a green
piece will be found and some of the amber finds reside in the
University of Washington's Burke Museum in Seattle.
- G. Platt asked for my comments and opinions on his newly
constructed amber web page, Amber Home, (G. Platt, personal communication,
September, 1997). He had supplemented my web page by
sharing images the year before.
- One of the references suggested was: "Amber, Resinite and Fossil
Resins" ACS Symposium Series Volume 617. American Chemical Society,
Washington D.C. 1995. Ken B. Anderson and John C. Crelling Editors.
(ISBN 0-8412-3336-5) (K. Anderson, personal communication, May, 1996)
Examples of E-mail from Uses, Myths, Care, Types of
- There have been several requests for information dealing with
the manufacture of amber pipe stems and cigarette/cigar holders.
Specifically, is there a process for melting and recasting
amber in a mold and how do I find a knowledgeable collector?
- Although information regarding colors of amber is given
in the web page, frequently people ask is there such a thing
as white amber or green amber? The color can be a result of
the tree source but with green amber the color is probably
the result of tiny bubble inclusions and decayed organic
matter from a marsh environment. This green amber necklace
is from Poland.
A fascination with amber is not limited to age or
country boundaries. Amber e-mail correspondence has
come from second grade students to retired people,
from Kansas to Hong Kong, and from professors to
curious folks. Responses, although time consuming,
have been a pleasure. Print and electronic references
are given out, as well as contacts to knowledgeable
individuals. The interest in amber bridges many careers:
- Organic Chemists and Geoscientists study the physical/chemical
properties and occurrences
- Paleontologists investigate evidence
for prehistoric life
- Botanists, Entomologists, and Zoologists discover
botanical sources and embalmed insects/debris
- Archeologists, Geographers, and Historians ascertain
trade routes and economic value/use in bartering
- Writers use as sunny inspirations
- Artists create objects of beauty
and rarity, both physically and in films/cinema
- Curators and Librarians preserve and display
- Gemologists and Jewelers market as gems
How can such a diverse population be reached? The
goal of the World of Amber is to disseminate and
communicate information via the WWW. The WWW is
instantaneous and easy to update, with global
potential for communication. Whether your interest in
amber is career related or simply an avocation, I
enjoy hearing from you! This amber web page strives
to link the general public's perceptions to the
scientific world, acting as a communication and
dissemination resource. Thanks for your input and visit!
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copyright 1998-2004 © Susan Ward Aber All rights reserved.